For all the things I may have neglected or screwed up this week, I saved this hummingbird's life today.
I can't take much credit. I was in the right place at the right time and I was paying attention. I'd seen the hummingbirds courting where I was gardening this afternoon. I was in the kitchen fixing dinner when I barely heard the thump that always gets the cats' attention.
It's easy enough to distract the cats for a second and I was able to pick up the limp little bird. She closed her eyes in my hand and I wasn't very hopeful, but she still seemed able to move. As I held her and tried to decide what to do, she flicked her tongue out. I feel incredibly blessed that now I have this mental image of a hummingbird's tongue.
I had hummingbird food in the fridge. When I held it near her beak, she took a few laps at it. I watched the male at the feeder and hoped for the best. In a few minutes she got her balance in my hand but she was pretty ruffled. Aha! I guessed she must be cold and held her closer. Her eyes opened and her feathers started to smooth down.
By then I was really starting to wish for a picture. I was able to pick up the camera and I'm grateful for this slightly out of focus photo. Just after the shutter clicked she took wing in that abrupt way only hummingbirds can manage and landed above the roof in the walnut tree.
I'll be watching their nest this summer and feeling a special kinship with their offspring.